Marcus Davenport isn’t one of those NFL-ready players who will come in and have a sustained, instant impact on your team. As a 3-4 outside linebacker, Davenport has more of a chance to be an immediate starter, but as a 4-3 defensive end he may need time to sit, watch and develop. Davenport, an edge rusher out of UTSA has all the potential to be a major contributor though and is expected to be a first round pick in next week’s draft. He was a three-sport athlete which included sprinting, so the athleticism is there. He also has a huge frame that is still developing, despite packing on quite a bit of weight throughout college.
If Davenport ends up on a team where he can rotate in rather than be relied upon to start for his first season or two it could be the perfect fit. Will that be with the Bengals as the team’s No. 21 overall pick?
Position: Defensive end
Weight: 255 pounds
Projected Round: First round
NFL comparison: NFL.com compares him to Danielle Hunter
Many draft experts have issues with Davenport’s speed at the next level, but when you watch him play he doesn’t seem to have too many issues there. Especially if he moves from a 3-4 linebacker to a 4-3 defensive end. Speed is a big factor in the draft process, but it doesn’t always matter that much once players hit the field in the NFL.
One of his major issues is the consistency he plays with. He will flash on certain plays, and you see a top 10 pick, but other times you hardly know he is out there. That is where the time to develop and add more strength to his frame will benefit him in the NFL. Ideally he could reach around 280 pounds.
His huge 6’6” height is only matched by his long wingspan. You can see it on display as he goes to try and alter passing lanes. That is something he can learn to do more at the pro level.
Overall Davenport will end up being a first round pick but some experts have their doubts. He had a great week at the Senior Bowl and he was a top performer in the 40-yard dash and broad jump at the combine, which only helped him further.
How he fits with the Bengals
Davenport doesn’t make a ton of sense as the Bengals’ first round pick for a few reasons, including that the Bengals haven’t spent a first round pick on a defensive end in the Marvin Lewis era. With that said, a guy like Carlos Dunlap would be the perfect mentor for Davenport, and he would have time to develop as a rotational player with Dunlap, Michael Johnson, Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson at the position.
Davenport could easily slide into the role that Smith held last season as a rotational player. That would leave room to gain more snaps as we saw with Lawson, who started the year off that same way, but secured a spot as a pass rushing specialist due to his performance against the Packers.
The idea of having Dunlap, Lawson, Willis and Davenport to rotate at defensive end the next few seasons doesn’t sound like a bad idea. But, the Bengals have bigger needs than an edge rusher after grabbing Lawson and Willis last year. So, it would be somewhat surprising to see the UTSA product in stripes.